Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing Task Group minutes: 2 March 2023

Meeting details

Date: Thursday 2 March 2023

Time: 2.30pm to 4pm

Location: Microsoft Teams

See the list of attendees and apologies for this meeting.

Actions arising from this meeting

Actions arising from this meeting
Number Description Responsible/Lead
1 Contact those interested in supporting Teacher Encounters Steering Group Employers and Educators
2 Hold the date – 5 July 2023 ALL
3 Contact to find out about supporting schools and students with learning more about your sector Employers and Educators
4 Confirm availability and timing and inform Secretariat re June meeting NP/DM

1. Welcome (introduction of new members)

SBu opened the meeting, and introduced DWa as the new chair of the group. SBu thanked DWa for taking on this role, best suited to an employer for a sector focussed group. DWa is a ‘real advocate for skills in the local area’ and has also become an Enterprise Adviser (EA) at East Sussex College Group (ESCG).

Other new attendees to the Engineering & Advanced Manufacturing Task Group introduced themselves (PJ, CGJ, AP). NP is often not able to attend due to teaching clashes but keeps abreast of the group’s activities. The return of some older group members was welcomed also.

2. Review of Previous Minutes & Actions

DWa went through the minutes, highlighting the actions.

A new chair is now in place. If anyone is interested in co-chairing, this can be considered.

A meeting with employers, DWP and ESCG took place in December.

The chair and Secretariat welcome offers of venues to host in-person meetings. This would include additional time to support networking.

3. Teachers’ Encounters

SBu began with an overview of the Skills East Sussex Board and how it fits into the SELEP (South East Local Enterprise Partnership) and Team East Sussex structure. SES’ is the strategic board for skills with six key priorities for 2021-2030 are:

  • Priority 1: Ensuring that national policy and funding supports the delivery of learning and skills in East Sussex
  • Priority 2: Enabling our Further Education (FE)/Higher Education (HE) establishments to recruit excellent educators with specialist technical knowledge
  • Priority 3: Improving our digital skills and digital inclusion
  • Priority 4: Upskilling our workforce to increase regional productivity
  • Priority 5: Supporting the unemployed and unqualified
  • Priority 6: Skills for a Net Zero future

The six SES priorities are embedded into the work carried out by our six sector task groups.   

As part of this work, SBu has worked with our ESCC Careers Hub to secure £20K of funding to provide a CPD event for teachers, lecturers, tutors and school careers advisors.

The funds will be used to provide a single face to face event, on 5 July 2023 (already identified as an ‘inset’/CPD day East Sussex College).

The event will provide:

  • Keynote speakers talking about the future of technology in construction and engineering
  • A range of practical “hands on” demonstrations and workshops of cutting edge technology and/or newer skills linked to T levels, new apprenticeship standards and degrees
  • A session linking careers advisors and HR staff from the sector to discuss the knowledge, skills and behaviours that are required for roles and workforce diversification strategies
  • A session for employers and educators to improve progression routes for post level 3 provision

Two keynote speakers are wanted, ideally one from construction and one from engineering – the keynotes should be inspiring and forward thinking. LA suggested getting the Engineering Council or a particular technical group, such as IMechE (Institute of Mechanical Engineers). NP suggested that the keynote focus on how SMEs are key to supply chains. SMEs make up the significant majority of employers in East Sussex.

Employers can support through attendance and also providing guidance and oversight on the practical demonstrations of technologies.

ESCG Eastbourne site has been agreed as the venue for the event due to having H&S and insurance in place for the types of activities that will take place.

The existing Construction Curriculum Development Group is now acting as steering group for the event. Employers and educators from the Engineering and Manufacturing Task Group are invited to join this group. Contact for attendance details.

FE Sussex have been commissioned as project managers.

The Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) set by the funder are:

  • 30 attendees from education to attend
  • 15 employers supporting the event
  • 3 surveys to be completed (pre/post- time to be determined, and 3 months later)

In response to MBu’s query, WG confirmed that independent training providers (ITPs) are welcome but will not be included in the KPI count.

The idea was welcomed. There was some discussion that a wide range of sector topics (space, defence, aeronautical, automotive, energy) could be covered.

ACTION 1: Employers and Educators from the Engineering and Manufacturing Task Group who are interested in supporting Teacher Encounters Steering Group contact

ACTION 2: Hold the date – 5 July 2023 – ALL

4. Intro to Engineering (CNC) proposal update

DWa gave feedback on the meeting and subsequent correspondence in the absence of a representative from ESCG. The meeting was positive and an important step to get ‘key people around the table’. However, due to the complexity of the provision it is unlikely that a course could be set up in the immediate future. All attending employers would welcome further discussions on the potential of this project to keep the dialogue moving forwards. It is recognised that staffing is a key challenge although it was noted that the CNC tutor has been sourced which prior to this point was considered one of the key potential blocking points.

DWa continued that the goal of the project may need to be reframed due to the restraints of the Adult Education Budget system impacting viability. A co-funded or privately funded model may be a better fit for the identified target audience (career changers and existing staff working in the sector).

SBu said that colleges cannot be as flexible as they used to be within the AEB funding system due to updated rules on subcontracting which may make a private or co-funded option more realistic.

5. Careers Hub – ways to engage

MMR thanked group members who are already in the role of EA which supports local schools to understand the needs of industry and build that into the careers advise offered to students.

He noted that it is Open Doors (the scheme that supports employers to open their doors to student visits) at Glyndebourne today. More employers are needed to support this scheme. MMR made it clear that his team will support interested employers with introductions to schools and logistics support re: arranging the visit and what needs to be in place.

To find out more about the Careers Hub and its activities supporting employers to raise interest in their sector, contact

ACTION 3: Contact to find out about supporting schools and students with learning more about your sector.

6. AOB/Date of Next Meeting

Friday 9th June is the next meeting, currently due to be at County Hall, Lewes. 10:00-11:30 with 11:30 to 12:00 as networking/refreshments'  time. 

NP suggested the Engineering Department at University of Sussex with a tour of the facilities. This was generally welcomed.

ACTION 4: To confirm availability and timing and inform Secretariat - NP

Attendees and apologies


  • DWa, Dan Wahnon, Technoturn – group Chair
  • LA, Lawrie Alford, LATC Automotive, Principal Consultant
  • MA, Michele Augousti, Sussex Chamber of Commerce and Institute of Directors Chair
  • MBu, Melanie Butcher, LSIP, Construction,  Engineering and Manufacturing Stakeholder Lead
  • DC, Dermot Clarke, DWP Eastbourne, Employment Adviser
  • CGJ, Cathy Gallop-Johns, Coopervision
  • WG, Wendy Gorham, East Sussex Careers Hub, Careers Hub Lead
  • RH, Ruth Hopkins, DWP Hastings & Bexhill, Employer Adviser
  • PJ, Philip Jagger, Bexhill College, Engineering Teaching
  • GJ, Gareth Jones, Photek
  • MK, Matt Knight, Akro Valve Ltd
  • NP, Noel Painting, University of Brighton, Senior Lecturer School of Environment and Technology
  • AP, Andrew Pritchard, Bexhill College, Assistant Principal
  • MMR, Matt Mainstone-Ryan, East Sussex Careers Hub, Enterprise Co-ordinator
  • SSe, Steve Sefton, University of Brighton, Technical Education and Apprenticeships Hub Business Development
  • JS, Joy Sheen, General Dynamics, HR Advisor 


  • SBu, Stephen Burkes, Skills East Sussex, Employability and Skills Project Manager
  • DM, Donnalyn Morris, Skills East Sussex, Employability and Skills Project Officer


  • HA, Holly Aquilina, Skills East Sussex, Employability and Skills Strategy Manager
  • DH, Donna Harfield, East Sussex College Group, Assistant Principal
  • DO, David Oloke, University of Brighton, Head of Technical Education and Apprenticeships
  • ER, Elaine Remon, East Sussex College Group, Business Development